We've all had days like that one, days that shocked and hurt us, but rarely do we experience them with such collective intensity.
I drove the carpool to the special elementary school program, and that was mostly what was on my mind that day, would this alt-ed school suit my little daughter? On the next level of consciousness sat my own return to school, my first seminary class for the new year coming the next day. On a more personal level, I had a date for lunch with Pure Luck and was excited to see him. And on a more ephemeral level, I needed to stop at the CVS for an errand I can no longer recall.
At the checkout, the cashier told me what had happened, a plane flying into the World Trade Center. It must have been just about 9 a.m., and I assumed some small plane had gone astray, but I turned the radio on in the car and drove straight home to turn on the news.
In those days we had the TV in the sun room, and I remember what a good space it was for happy times and how wrong all those images seemed in such a safe place, how wrong the world seemed.
How do you cope when you are in shock?
I don't think clearly. I can't imagine how rescue workers could have known what to do. At this great distance, in the safe haven of my sun room, I had no idea what to do next. I called The Father of My Children and he did not seem worried, this was too far away to touch us, to threaten our children, and the local news assured us the schools in City By the Sea were locked down. Do not come and get your children, we were told, they are safe at school.
Downtown, a block from City By the Sea High School, where #1 Son sat safely in a classroom, a woman brandished a weapon, but it turned out to be a fake.
I tried to reach Pure Luck, but first there was no answer (he was in the shower) and then the line was busy (he lived in a coastal location where you could only get dial-up), and this was long before he had a cell phone, so I had to wait until he came to me.
I got in the shower, mostly because the newscasters kept saying the buildings might fall, and I don't know if I formed the words in my mind, but I could not watch it. I could not watch it.
It did not occur to me that I would watch them fall, over and over and over again.